Women's Badminton young guns get chance to impress

Baku, June 21, AZERTAC

The women's Badminton singles tournament at the Baku 2015 European Games is a chance for some of the continent's younger talent to get multi-sport event experience – and a possibly a medal – ahead of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

"It's a pretty strong field, but three of the best European players are not here," said Denmark's world no.36 Line Kjaersfeldt, 21. "I'm the second seed so I have a definite chance to take the gold."

Those absentees – who are chasing Olympic qualification points elsewhere – are world no.1 Carolina Marin, her fellow Spaniard Beatriz Corrales, and Britain's Kirsty Gilmour.

Bulgarian top seed Linda Zetchiri is just four places above Kjaersfeldt in the world rankings, and won a bronze medal at the 2012 European championships in Karlskrona, Sweden.

The 27-year-old has slipped from her highest rank of no.26 in the world and never quite taken on the mantle of compatriot Petya Nedelcheva, a former world no.8 and the third seed in Baku.

With no Azerbaijanis in the draw, local support is likely to be behind the Turkish players.

Ozge Bayrak is only competing in doubles in Baku, meaning that the Turkish baton passes to Neslihan Yigit, who reached the second round at the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Badminton begins at 09:00 on Monday 22 June.

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